How Can I Get a Sign-Up Bonus for Upgrading My Credit Card?
Update: Some offers mentioned below are no longer available. View the current offers here.
"Reader Questions" are answered three days a week — Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays — by TPG Senior Writer Julian Mark Kheel.
There are some great credit card welcome bonuses out right now and TPG reader Will wants to know whether he can get one without starting entirely from scratch...
[pullquote source="TPG Reader Will"]I'm an existing Amex Premier Rewards Gold cardholder and I've been curious about the new Platinum and its sign-up offer. If I were to apply for an upgrade to the Platinum, would I still receive the same sign-up bonus?[/pullquote]
Will is referring to the 60,000-point bonus on The Platinum Card® from American Express, which heads our list of top cards this month. Amex has recently added some benefits to its top-of-the-line card, such as a $200 annual Uber credit and 5x points on prepaid hotels, and while the annual fee on the card has increased by $100, you can still get fantastic value from both the travel benefits and the Membership Rewards points.
But instead of applying for a Platinum, what if Will tries to upgrade his existing Premier Rewards Gold card? Will he still get the 60,000 bonus points? Unfortunately, the answer is no. The Platinum card, like most credit cards, only comes with a welcome bonus for new applicants. Folks who convert an existing card won't get the 60,000 points.
However, there are a few ways you can get a bonus for upgrading your credit card. One is to call your bank and ask if there are any bonuses available for upgrading. These sort of bonuses are generally targeted and not available to everyone, but it never hurts to ask — the worst that can happen is you aren't eligible and you can decline to upgrade.
The other option, particularly in the case of American Express, is to check your online account for any targeted upgrade offers. These offers have appeared on Amex's online portal from time to time on a fairly consistent basis over the past year. Again, not everyone will be targeted or eligible for an upgrade bonus, but it only takes a few minutes to sign into your online account. Look in the Amex Offers section or in the area near the top of your Account Summary. You can also try finding the premium version of a card you already have, click "Apply For An Upgrade" and see if any bonus offers appear.
Hopefully you'll find yourself targeted, Will, but if not, you'll have to apply for the card the old-fashioned way. Thanks for the question, and if you're a TPG reader who'd like us to answer a question of your own, tweet us at @thepointsguy, message us on Facebook or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.